Your comfort zone isn’t a physical bubble or even something that’s necessarily easy to define. It’s essentially a state of mind wherein you feel secure and confident, and is a place most people like to stay.
Defining Your Comfort Zone
If you want to measure the expanse of your comfort zone, you need to examine your tolerance for risk in both your personal and professional life. Are you able to speak in public? Have you moved around a lot in your life? Have you started a business or written a book? Do you enjoy bungee jumping, rock climbing, and scuba diving? These are the types of activities that indicate whether your comfort zone has kept you close to the familiar, or stretches to explore the far horizon.
Much has been written to suggest that expanding your comfort zone leads to a richer and more satisfying life. We tend to stick with the familiar because it makes us feel in control, but constantly doing the same things in the same way is precisely what leads us to feel “stuck”. It is only by pushing ourselves to try something new, difficult or challenging that we develop our understanding of both ourselves and the world around us.
The Adrenalin Junkie’s Outer Edge
All challenges to our comfort zone have one thing in common – a sense of incipient fear. For adrenalin junkies, that feeling of jumping into the unknown is exactly what fuels their craving for adventure. In one sense, therefore, it is impossible for an adrenaline junkie to stay in their comfort zone because the thrills they’re looking for lie, by definition, beyond its outer edge.
But what is if living with fear is your comfort zone? If you turn the whole idea on its head, adrenalin junkies are living well within their comfort zone because it is vast enough to encompass risk, fear and the great unknown. To put it simply, adrenaline junkies are perfectly comfortable scaring the crap out of themselves, doing things that make the rest of us break into a flop-sweat.
Staying on the Right Side of the Precipice
The key to staying in your comfort zone as an adrenaline junkie is control. Staying in control is what marks the boundary between acceptable risk and lunacy. Even the hardiest adrenaline junkie doesn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute at 12,000 feet. Talk to any serious thrill-seeker and you’ll find someone who’s knowledgeable, perversely cautious, and usually entirely sane.
If your need for a constant adrenaline rush has you seeking out more extreme sports like abseiling, base jumping or white-water paddling, you’ll stay within your comfort zone if you’re adequately prepared for the challenge. That means doing your homework, maintaining your fitness level, and getting some expert advice before you set off.
Always check out the company you’re working with if you need to rent equipment, and if anything doesn’t feel right, walk away. Remember that getting a rush requires that you take a risk – but it’s always a calculated one. That includes having faith in the suppliers or guides you’re working with. Use the equipment provided correctly, and don’t cut corners.
Adventure travel should test the limits of your comfort zone without pushing you blindly over the edge. It is, after all, supposed to be fun. Staying in control requires you to honestly assess your abilities, listen to your instincts, and walk away if your gut tells you that a certain activity has crossed the line from adrenaline pumping to blood spilling.
Touch the edge of your comfort zone by all means, however elastic it may be, but live to thrill another day.